Category Archives: Friendship

Everyone Loves an Invitation

Better (1)

Point to Ponder:
Is there something that you can invite someone to join you in this week?

iGnite Neissa

Neissa Brown Springmann

Throughout the past 48 hours I feel like I’ve been operating in a deja vu kind of world. I’m not having the same experience over and over again, but I keep getting the same message, so much that I feel like God is trying to plant a seed and tell me something. It’s not new content or a new idea, rather it’s one that I stand firm in and is the foundation on which iGnite was created, but non-the-less, when I get these kind of unsolicited and continuous memos, I feel there’s a reason and I need to share.

For starters, on Friday, after our San Diego iGnite workout I was motivated and excited to take a class at the gym I attend. I had just finished leading a fun, challenging and high-energy outdoor class and was inspired by how awesome everyone did, and I wanted and needed a challenging workout that would leave me feeling mentally and physically strong and confident as well. In addition, given that I had just led a workout, I wanted to turn off my brain and have someone to lead me. So, as I walked in the gym with my almost 4-year old side-kick Malaine, I was greeted with the news that their childcare was closed. Frustratingly, it became quickly apparent that if I wanted to workout, I would have to muster up the discipline to do it on my own–UGH!! As a result, I went home and immediately began the workout. Sadly, I was only able to get half way through it before I threw in the towel. This workout was very hard, but there was no doubt that if I had at least one friend do exercising with me, I would’ve been able to finish. Better Together Reminder #1

Then, on Saturday afternoon I had two, back-to-back phone calls that blew my socks off. One was with the peppy and never-met-a-stranger iGnite member, Mary Carlise Crehorn. Mary Carlisle moved to Austin in August after graduating from Vanderbilt. In November, she just happened to be working out at Mt. Bonnell while Molly was leading our Friday Cardio Blast class, and Molly invited Mary Carlisle to join them. The rest is history. So, as Mary Carlisle and I were talking about how we believe that we were called and created for community, she told me about a fascinating loneliness study by the University of Chicago. In the study, researchers found that loneliness triggers cellular changes that can cause illness. The study was based on adults ages 50-68 and shows that loneliness leads to fight-or-flight stress signaling, which can ultimately affect the production of white blood cells. As a reminder, white blood cells are essential because they are the cells of the immune system that are involved with protecting the body against infectious disease and foreign invaders.

The study examined loneliness in both humans and rhesus macaques, a highly social primate species. The human subjects were participants in the Chicago Health, Aging, and Social Relations Study, a longitudinal study that began in 2002. Previous research from this group had identified a link between loneliness and a phenomenon they called “conserved transcriptional response to adversity” or CTRA. This response is characterized by an increased expression of genes involved in inflammation and a decreased expression of genes involved in antiviral responses. Essentially, lonely people had a less effective immune response and more inflammation than non-lonely people, which increases the risk of premature death by 14%. As we are all learning, inflammation is the common link between such debilitating conditions as Alzheimers, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Better Together Reminder #2

Finally and within minutes of finishing my conversation with Mary Carlisle, I hopped on another call with the wonderful, Jenni Thurow, another iGnite member and awesome substitution leader for us who is currently helping to teach our Wednesday evening Cardio Strength class. Jenni mentioned that her husband was out of town for a few days so it was just she and her dog, Packer. When I asked her how it was being alone, she said, “There are always noises, but when I’m alone, they just sound different.” At that moment I stopped Jenni and said, “Whoa Jenni–that is powerful and so true!” I then shared the conversation that I had just had with Mary Carlisle about loneliness and the need for constant connection and community. Better Together Reminder #3

Feeling alone, isolated and lonely intensifies everything. It makes a workout more challenging, has a negative physiological affect on our body’s immune system–making the incident of disease more likely, and it makes everything seem bigger, scarier and more powerful than they really are.

Regardless of the scenario or whether you are an introvert of extrovert, we all need human interaction and support because that’s how we are designed. And, despite technology’s attempt to replace humans, there is no robot that can adequately do so. We are purposefully created for one another–for human touch, interaction and love, and in his book Love Does, Bob Goff says, “There’s nothing like feeling included, so invite someone to do something with you.” And, as our passionate yoga and Pilates leader, Amy Younkman, often reminds me, “everyone loves an invitation”, and that is so true! How do we know this? We’ve done our own iGnite research. On average, our class attendance increases when you receive an email or text message invitation to attend class from our class leaders. The data is indisputable.

With April being iGnite’s Friends for Free month, I encourage you to invite or re-invite a friend to attend class with you to be part of our special community. We would LOVE to meet them and love on them with you. Here is our designated class days throughout April to bring friends for free:

  • April 3-8: All Monday and Saturday Classes
  • April 10- 15: All Tuesday Classes
  • April 17-22: All Wednesday Classes
  • April 24- 29: All Thursday and Friday Classes

“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self confidence and inner-healing.” – Jean Vanier


Action Item:
Invite someone to join you in something this week. 



Member Spotlight: Simone Krasan

simoneRoots:
I say I am from Seattle, as that is where I spent the longest amount of time growing up. My father was in the military, and my mother liked to travel, so we moved around a lot. I moved from Seattle to Austin, sight unseen, with two of my sorority sisters in 1995. I said I would give it a year…it’s been 22 years now. 🙂

Family life:
I met my husband, Sean, when we moved from New York City and he lived next door to me at the Gables on Lake Austin Blvd in 1996. We have been married almost 17 years now and have three AWESOME -most of the time- kids! Max is 14 and will attend Westlake High School next year! Ben is 11 and then “WE GOT THE GIRL!” as my husband always says. Olivia is 10.

Work life:
Currently, I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home mom. I feel like I am a full time uber driver (but without pay) for my kids and their teammates. I also do some inspirational speaking on occasion. Before kids, I was a top sales producer at several telecom companies and later ran two sales offices as a District Sales Manager.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
The biggest lesson I have learned through my iGnite experience is how valuable the friendships, connections and community through iGnite are. Neissa and all the amazing women that help lead iGnite are some of the best women out there. Neissa has always had a gift of inspiring others and of bringing women together to share their gifts and talents. I highly value these women and the lovely ladies I get to iGnite life with.

Who or what inspires me most…
The ocean inspires me. There is a quote that I love by Isak Dinesen, and our own iGniter Olivia Osborne, found it for me in a magazine at the Re-New Year San Diego iGnite Retreat. She says “The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.” Thanks to iGnite, we get to sweat. Sometimes we just need a good cry. And the sea, although it has almost taken my life twice, is my happy place. I would also like to mention our fellow iGniter and my awesome cousin, Nikki McCormick, who inspires me to laugh! You know the belly laugh that makes your cheeks hurt kind of laugh!

I am looking forward to…
The day my book I have been writing gets published. It’s not ready yet – it needs a great editor – but I have been enjoying finally writing a book that has been 25 years in the making. Many of the seasoned iGniters know “my story”, and if you have ever been a newbie in one of Kathleen’s classes that I have shown up for have heard it too, because she lovingly brags about me! In 1991, my new friend and love, Larry, set me up on the railing of an Italian ferry. I fell backwards and plummeted over 40 feet into the Adriatic Sea, and he jumped in after me. At 1:00 am, no one saw us go overboard. It was 18 hours that I floated in and out of consciousness, fighting for my life, before I was miraculously found by nine Austrian men on their 47 foot Clipper who saved me. Tragically, Larry did not survive. I share my story of love and hope in hopes to inspire others.

My guilty pleasure…
Would have to involve hazelnuts, whether it’s a French crepe with Nutella, a Hazelnut Latte or a Kinder Bueno Bar, a candy bar from Italy with a chocolate covered wafter and hazelnut filling. Yum!


You May Also Like:

 

Why We Need to Take A Break

feb5_2017

Point to Ponder:
Do you give yourself the necessary breaks that you need?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

“Sometimes a break from your routine is the very thing you need.” Is that the truth or what?! Being one week removed from iGnite’s Re-New Year Rise & Shine Retreat in San Diego, although I was technically working and the retreat was a whopping thirty minutes from my home, it hit the spot. Of course I love my family and my life, but I just needed to step away from my day to day responsibilities and immerse myself into a new scene. As always, I returned home more patient, grateful, loving and passionate. Not to sound cliche, but I was rejuvenated, had a renewed energy and sense of self.

What I find over and over again (yes–it’s the definition of insanity-ugh) is when I neglect my physical, mental and spiritual needs, I quickly reach my tipping point and I don’t like who I become. As I’ve mentioned in previous journals, I have a skin crawling experience and I get resentful and very unpleasant….and to be even more honest, I get mean. I become quick tempered, yell, have very little to no patience and am no fun to be around. Everything becomes a struggle and in all facets, not only am I not myself, but I am a fraction of my best.

Sure, I could blame my husband’s work schedule, as him being gone often and us living so far from family makes taking regular time for me more difficult to coordinate, however this is on me. I know this about myself. In order to get the necessary breaks that allow me to be my best, I must schedule time for me and do so without any guilt. This doesn’t have to be a four day retreat or anything expensive or elaborate–it just needs to be a few hours away from my children, my computer, my phone, my house and my regular commitments.

My good friend and iGnite member Catherine Sanderson recently sent me an excellent article written by holistic health coach, Ashley Berry titled “Why Self Care Isn’t Weak”.  In it, Ashley writes about her journey with healing her sick body, but she also speaks directly to our great need for holistic (mind, body, spirit) well being, including rest, rejuvenation and caring for our whole selves–something that I believe every woman needs encouragement and support to do and regularly practice.

Finally, I encourage you to read Ashley’s entire article, but for starters, below is an excerpt and great reminder of our female tendencies and how and why we need to shift. Also, because you have your calendar out and are scheduling time for you (wink wink hint hint) be sure to secure July 28 – August 2 for the iGnite Summer Escape, an exhilarating, exciting, and empowering girlfriend getaway and break from your summer and life routine. Location with all details coming soon!

If you look at the animal kingdom, you’ll see that all creatures from birds to mammals and even insects practice self-care instinctually. When they’re sick, they eat plants that heal them. When they’re tired or injured, they rest. If they’re social animals, they seek connection when they need it. But somewhere along the way in our evolution as a species, we learned how to override the needs of our bodies and minds, and eventually even built a culture around doing just that. Almost everywhere we turn, there’s some sort of messaging that encourages us to push ourselves to our limits, to hustle, to grind, to work hard, and to play even harder. But where does rest factor into this equation? At what point did self-care get deemed self-indulgent?

Most of us know that our greatest wealth is health. There’s no amount of money that can buy happiness if we’re suffering mentally or physically, and yet, social pressures, both implicit and explicit, make it incredibly challenging to make choices that support our well being. We forgo using our sick days. We pull the long hours, fueled by sugar and coffee. We sweep our mounting stress levels under the rug with alcohol or food.

We use busyness to avoid being present with ourselves because if we stopped and stood still, we might feel the full weight of the overwhelm we’ve created in our own lives.

So the question is, how do we shift? How do we grab the reins and steer our culture to a place that is more supportive of our most basic needs?

By honing in on one person, one choice, one small, revolutionary act at a time. We all have the opportunity to look at our own lives and get honest about the ways in which we are not caring for ourselves. We can start conversations that promote awareness of the importance of both mental and physical health. We can model unapologetic self-care, and in doing so, give permission to those around us to do the same.


Action Item:
Pause and identify where you are not caring of yourself and then start making plans and schedule important time for you.


You May Also Like:

Being “Good Enough”

Encouragement from the iGnite Archives: March 2012

jan29_2017

Point to Ponder:
Do you struggle with feeling “good enough”?

Amy Younkman

by Amy Younkman

Have you ever struggled with the feeling that you are not “good enough”?

I recall being in 3rd grade and feeling sadly disappointed with all A’s, and a B in Penmanship on my report card. I thought my handwriting was good, but it wasn’t “good enough.” As a teen I struggled with feelings of self-worth and self-acceptance. I was never “thin enough” or “confident enough.” Then, as a busy Mom of three, one of my favorite free-time activities was training for triathlons. One year, I placed 3rd (in my age group) in a sprint triathlon and decided I could do better, so I trained harder. The next year I came in 2nd place and elusive 1st place was never an option, as the triathlon series was discontinued. Equally elusive were my feelings of being “good enough.”

I now know why God graced me with my three children. They were pre-destined to be some of my greatest teachers. At age 16 and in a fit of frustration, I recall my oldest daughter blurting out “Nothing is ever good enough for you!” Taking the comment to heart, I began a long, slow journey of learning to let go of desired outcomes and needing to control what I perceived as the necessary end result. I passionately want the best for my kids and for myself, therefore I continually struggle to ease up on my expectations and instead, to learn the lessons the present has to offer.

Meanwhile, the little voice in my head continues to taunt me… “Are you really a good enough Mom, wife, friend, yoga teacher??”  I have to stop, breathe and ask for help. I realize I am an imperfect human who, though flawed, does the best she can with a faith-filled heart. And then I offer the rest to God. Doing this frees me from the need to be perfect and in control. Divine design is constantly working through me, and I am only a small vessel amidst a fleet of God’s angels.

My yoga mat is a laboratory for my life. Every day offers new experiments and discoveries. I have found immense peace of mind through merely showing up on my mat, paying attention to my breath, and letting my body guide me as it opens and unfolds in it’s own time to receive grace. Learning to receive is a lesson unto itself. I don’t have to be a superstar on the mat; just showing up, willing to learn is “good enough.”

The beauty I have found in iGnite is that we don’t measure success by inches lost, pounds shed, or winning times; instead we focus on nurturing relationships, finding fun in the every day, and being fed in body, mind and spirit. If we can do that, it is most definitely “good enough.”

I challenge you to look at your own life vocation and ask yourself, “Am I good enough?”  Today may be different from yesterday, or tomorrow. Accept yourself in the here and now, realizing you are a work in progress and God is not yet through with you.


Action Item:
Accept yourself in the here and now, realizing you are a work in progress and God is not yet through with you.


You May Also Like:

Member Spotlight: Mary Bell

img_2055-2Roots:
I was born in Houston, but I moved to Iran when I was 3 years old. After that, my family moved to London, and then we moved back to Houston. I went to UT and stayed in Austin, living here from 1974 to 1991. We moved to Houston for 17 years until 2008. We have been back in Austin for 8 years, so 25 years in all.

Family life:
My husband is Jerry Bell, and we have 3 kids: Julia who is 32 and married to Ryan Ambrose; John who is 30 and married to Amy; and Molly is who is 28.

Work life:
I worked as a librarian until I had children. When my kids were older, I worked several part time jobs as an assistant to an interior designer, a real estate assistant and as a college admissions facilitator.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…
It’s so much more fun to exercise with friends!

The best advice I’ve been given…
From the Book of Luke: Do to others as you would have them do to you.

I am looking forward to…
Becoming a grandmother in March!

Three words to describe myself…
Friendly, sensitive and inquisitive.


You May Also Like:

Member Spotlight: Ali Clayton

aliRoots:
I am originally from Brownwood, Texas (think Friday Night Lights setting). I’ve lived in Austin for a little over 5 years now. HOOK EM!

Family Life:
I’m as single as a Pringle. No significant other or kids, but a couple of loving parents and a pretty rad 13 year old sister.

Work Life:
I am currently working as an executive assistant, and I babysit on the side. Oh, and house sit.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my iGnite experience…is that I am never alone. iGnite has brought so many beautiful, wonderful people into my life that I couldn’t imagine life without! iGnite teaches me something new every day, plus being surrounded by strong, inspiring women 2-3 times a week is such a gift!

The best advice I’ve been given…
It is hard to pick the best advice I’ve been given, but one of my favorite pieces of advice came from my grandpa, Pappy. He has always encouraged me to “dream big and enjoy the journey!” As crazy or hectic as life may seem right now, sometimes we just have to stop and realize how far we have come. Enjoy life and where it takes you!

I am looking forward to…
My very best friend is getting married in February, and I am just so excited and happy for her! Wow…February is much closer now that I say it out loud. I’ll see ya at a few extra classes in the next few months. 😉

If I were an ice cream flavor, I would be…
I think Rocky Road. Mostly because I just love that flavor. I think someone could come up with a great metaphor for life using Rocky Road ice cream.


You May Also Like:

Are You Listening to the Signs?

oct30_2016

Point to Ponder:
Is your antenna up for signs that are around you?

iGnite Neissa

by Neissa Brown Springmann

As you may know, in April 2015 my family learned that we would be moving from Austin to San Diego. My husband accepted a new job and although the thought of leaving Austin was devastating, once I embraced it, I became excited about the adventure and possibilities, such as expanding iGnite and inspiring, empowering and enriching the bodies, minds and spirits of the women in Southern California. Upon confirming that we would indeed be moving, I sent an email announcement to iGnite members, family and friends. In it I included my iGnite expansion hopes (ugh..my optimism and idealism got the best of me–why did I put that out there?!?!?). However, because I don’t know what I don’t know, once we moved I was overwhelmed and spun in so many different directions that it became obvious that my focus could only be on the needs of my family, remotely leading and supporting iGnite Austin…and finding the grocery store, a babysitter and a place to get a good hair cut, etc. etc. etc.

While I realized that my focus needed to be on supporting Russell in his job and getting our small children adjusted to our new life, I severely struggled with my purpose, relevance and a plan. For the first time in fifteen years I was broken, confused and lonely and I found myself in daily prayer — asking God to show me what He wanted me to do. Frustratingly but also thankfully, I heard crickets–SILENCE!!! On one hand this was a welcoming sign because I didn’t have the mental, spiritual or physical bandwidth to take on anything new, but on the other hand, I felt like one of the reasons He sent us to San Diego was so that I could share iGnite. I was feeling like a failure and fraud because I wasn’t doing what I said I would do.

As I wrote in a previous journal, How Well Do You Rest & Receive, I met a faith-filled and wise friend who encouraged me to use this time to pour into my family, to rest in God’s presence, receive His love and enjoy this unique time with my children. And so I did. I relinquished my self-imposed expectations and began appreciating our new and different life. I did, however, continue to pray and ask God to show me how He wanted me to use my time beyond what I was currently doing, and if it were to bring iGnite into San Diego, to please make it obvious. Until I heard Him or saw specific signs, I remained content and knew that He had me exactly where He wanted me.

And then, one day in May, I met a mom in my son’s karate class who also had just moved to San Diego from Northern California. Because we were both with our children, our conversation was chaotic, however once she found out what I did, she instantly encouraged me and told me that iGnite would be a hit in our neighborhood. “Hmmm,” I thought, “That’s interesting. She just met me and she’s encouraging me to start iGnite.”

Then, summer came and went and I put the idea of expanding in the back corners of my heart. Honestly, I pretty much wrote it off (for the time being, at least). I hadn’t received any real signs (except from the karate mom) and it didn’t feel organic or like it fit….until mid August. While playing at one of our parks, a woman who lives across the street from the park came outside to let us know about rattlesnakes that had been spotted close by. As we talked, we realized that our children were classmates and as one thing led to another, we learned about one another’s professions. She asked if I was going to lead classes in our neighborhood and I told her that while I had considered it, right now the answer was “no.”  She then let me know that she and seven of her friends were going to be having their babies in December and in January they were going to want to get back in shape. Her request to me was to “let the idea of providing a class for her and her friends, marinate.”  I thanked her for the encouragement and promised her that I would think about leading the class. Meanwhile, I ran the class idea past a few friends in our neighborhood and they encouraged me to go for it. More signs…..

A few weeks later I made three consecutive trips to Austin, and I was asked many times of my plans to expand iGnite to San Diego and again was encouraged to do so. Pretty quickly I realized that God was speaking through all of these people, my angels, and they were delivering the answers and signs that I had been asking for.

All of this took place during iGnite’s 10th birthday celebration as well as during our Fall Body Re-Boot, and due to October being iGnite’s 10th birthday month, upon arriving back to San Diego with the abundance of signs, I decided that as an extension of our birthday celebration I would use October to test the waters for our new community as well as for myself and family by offering twelve complimentary iGnite classes.

With the help and support of angel friends, we have had an super fun month and starting this week, a 6-week iGnite session will be held in our San Diego neighborhood-yahoo!!!

Of course I am thrilled to make this announcement, as this means a new iGnite community is being formed where friendship can be developed and women’s health can be nurtured, but more than anything, I’m sharing this story to encourage you to patiently wait and watch for the answers and signs that you are asking for, as they are being delivered everyday and in a variety of ways. Even if the sign is silence, the answer isn’t “no,” it’s instead “I’ve got something much better for you” or “not now.” And, as we have all experienced, God speaks through music, people and even random billboards. Our job is to ask, diligently pray, wait and watch. The answers will always come and then we have to boldly walk out in faith and go for it! In addition, never underestimate the power of your words and encouragement. While you may not realize it, you are someone’s angel and your words can be the difference between them stepping out and pursuing their dreams and making an incredible impact in the lives of others.

There are more layers to this story, so it will be continued. Until then, I invite you to be someone’s angel while also watching for, listening to and acknowledging all of the signs that you are being given, including your own intuition, as that’s your best message deliverer!


Action Item:
Be someone’s angel while also watching for, listening to and acknowledging all of the signs that you are being given, including your own intuition.


You May Also Like: